Television

I&B ministry arms itself to deal with 'anti-national' propaganda

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It's taken long to arrive at a decision, but the Indian I&B ministry has finally decided to invoke special legal powers to crack down on cable transmission that could harm the "national interest".

The order, issued by the ministry on Friday, cites section 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act that allows authorities the power to 'regulate or prohibit the transmission or retransmission of any channel or programmes, by an order, where the Central government thinks it necessary or expedient to do so in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India." Translated, this means the Centre can intervene in case it finds Pakistan TV (PTV) transmitting anti-India propaganda and black out the channel.

The action comes nearly two weeks after Pakistan disallowed transmission of five channels of the Star family in the country. The ban was lifted a week later by the Pakistan Telecom Authority. India, on the other hand, did not go in for an immediate ban, even after the 13 December terrorist attacks on Parliament. Instead, an inter-ministerial committee was set up by I&B minister Sushma Swaraj to discuss the situation and to monitor the TV signals being beamed from across the border.

Even now, the ministry has not actually blacked out any channel, but seems to be arming itself for any eventuality. 

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